How This Election is Affecting Young People

The tone today could affect attitudes tomorrow

For many young people, this election will set their tone toward government and politics for the rest of their life. While this is true normally, it is even more important to recognize during this election cycle. Many young people have been brought into the political process by the candidates and issues which are important this year.

This cycle we have also seen the growth of people openly outside of the moderate box, and watched those people be attacked by establishment politicians and political entities. If this trend continues, many of these young and slightly more extreme people will feel alienated from the political process.

Candidates and Rhetoric

The 2016 election cycle has been far from ordinary. Candidates are never entirely kind to one another, however, these candidates have proven to be particularly abrasive and offensive.

The two candidates in the general election have frequently used aggressive and, to put it lightly, mean language. This creates a political climate which does not welcome new faces or ideas. Young people will be hesitant to bring these new ideas to the table, as they will likely be attacked and written off as extremist or stupid

Beyond this, the candidates are causing a simple distaste for politicians. Some may see this as positive. Maybe this will cause our future electorate to elect morally responsible people into office, and that is certainly possible. Despite this possibility, it is much more likely they become doubtful that the political system is working for their best interests. In a time where politicians are already some of the least trusted figures in America, an even less trusting electorate could be very dangerous.

Corruption

The direct actions and words of the candidates are not the only cause of this distrust, however. The actions of political entities, such as political parties have also had a strong effect on the young peoples’ perception of politics and the government.

The more corruption exposed in public media, the stronger this distaste becomes. If information like that contained in the DNC email leaks continues to come out, we will see more and more people distance themselves from the political establishment, especially the young and non-moderate groups.

People with more “extreme” beliefs no longer feel welcome within the two major parties. They have been shown that the establishment will do what they can to stop the proliferation of these ideas.

After they fought hard to stop him, Bernie Sanders did cause a change in the party’s platform. However, at this point, many of his supporters feel abandoned by the first politician they felt was on their side.

Bernie Sanders bowed to the establishment. While this was necessary for him and his political career, many view this as a betrayal to his beliefs. They see his capitulation as abandonment.

If our candidates and political establishment continue to treat this election as a boxing match, we will see a growing discontent among our youth. Our future electorate will be soured to the political process.

The government will not be seen as something that works for us. Rather, it will be seen as something that fights to keep things the same. A proponent of tradition and conformity, rather than the people.